BMW's 3 Series gets more powerful engines, enhanced interior accoutrements, new exterior colors, and a new, 2-door coupe version for the 2007 model year. But the coupe isn't the only new version that expands the 3 Series lineup, which in 2006 included only a sedan and sport wagon. A new 3 Series convertible with a retracting hard top will be added as a 2008 model.
The big news for the 3 Series for the 2007 model year is the launch of the 2-door coupe version of BMW's highly regarded compact car as well as the introduction of a new and more powerful turbocharged version of the in-line 6-cylinder engine. This engine is the most powerful 6-cylinder BMW offers in a car not sporting the famed "M" badge worn by the German automaker's highest-performance vehicles. It also marks the first use of turbocharging in a BMW gasoline engine since the days of the 2002 Turbo in the 1970s and the 745i in the 1980s.
The BMW 3 Series sedan, coupe, and wagon come with standard rear-wheel drive, though the sedan and wagon can be equipped with all-wheel drive for enhanced traction in inclement weather conditions. The 328i sedan, convertible, and wagon as well as the 328ix sedan and wagon are powered by a new version of BMW's 3.0-liter in-line six that pumps out 230 hp (15 more than in 2006) yet delivers the same fuel economy figures. Meanwhile, the 330i sedan and coupe get a turbocharged 3.0-liter six that puts forth with 300 hp and an equivalent torque figure, yet again retains the same fuel economy rating as the non-turbocharged engine it replaces. One reason BMW used turbocharging was to provide significantly increased power without having to go to a V-8 engine, which would entail greater weight and lower fuel economy.
In addition to the new engines, the sedan and the sport wagon get the same interior upgrades that were introduced with the launch of the convertible, including silver interior trim, a sport steering wheel option, and new exterior colors-Crimson Red and Montego Blue. 3 Series vehicles can be equipped with 6-speed manual or automatic transmissions and feature a wide array of standard and optional equipment. While the sedan and wagon are designed for 5-passenger seating, the coupe is set up as a 2+2.
The BMW 3 Series competes in the Compact Premium Conventional segment, which consists of 15 models. Buyers in this segment look for performance, exterior styling, and quality, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Avoider StudySM and the Escaped Shopper Study.SM
The top sellers in the segment during calendar year 2006, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM were the BMW 3 Series (120,180 units sold), Acura TL (71,348), and Infiniti G35 (60,741). The BMW 3 Series' 120,180 sales in 2006 represent an increase of 12.4 percent compared to the previous year. Other models offered in the Compact Premium Conventional segment include the Cadillac CTS, Lexus IS Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4, and Acura TSX.